For over 20 years, Bank of America has been an invaluable partner of After School Matters. As a company, they strive to increase economic mobility and social progress in low- and moderate-income communities. As the lead sponsor of ASM’s advanced summer internship program, Bank of America aids in connecting teens to businesses and non-profits throughout Chicago. Through this partnership, ASM teens are provided quality mentorships to gain early work experience that will put them on a path to success.
We are honored to feature ASM Board member, Adrienne D. Hughes, the National Client Experience Executive at Bank of America. We are grateful for Bank of America’s support of Chicago teens and their generous commitment to shaping the futures of tomorrow’s leaders!
Describe yourself as a teenager. What were you like? What was a defining experience for you as a teen?
Outgoing, achievement-oriented and friendly, I was involved in everything and friends with everyone—including the teachers and the school staff! I was voted “Friendliest” “Funniest” and “Most Likely to Become President” and involved in everything from sports to theater and student government.
Singing the National Anthem at our high school basketball game on my 18th birthday was a defining moment. I had three other extracurricular activities on the same day. I left a rehearsal to go sing at the game and then went back to the rehearsal without getting to watch the game. I, did however, go to the school dance after the game –very important! I remember asking myself, “If I am this busy at eighteen, what is the rest of my life going to be like?” Well, life has never slowed down, and I think I prefer it this way!
What advice would you give to your teenage self now?
I would say to myself, “Hey, Adrienne, it is okay not to fit in. Instead of trying to compensate for your differences, learn to accept, explore and celebrate them. If you start appreciating yourself now, appreciating who you were created to be, your journey will be so much richer and more enjoyable.” I waited about 14 years too long to learn this lesson, and once I did, the world opened up to me in a way that really blew my mind. It starts on the inside first.
If you had the opportunity as a teenager to take part in life-changing after-school and out-of-school-time opportunities, what type of program would you take part in?
It would be hard for me to choose! Cooking, gardening, dance, singing, coding…I would probably sign up for as many programs as I was allowed.
In a few sentences, please describe your company’s philanthropic values and mission to make a positive community impact.
At Bank of America, we’re guided by a common purpose to help make financial lives better. As part of this work, we develop strong partnerships with nonprofit organizations addressing issues fundamental to economic mobility and social progress in low- and moderate-income communities. We focus on improving the lives of individuals and families by investing in basic needs and workforce development and education and also strengthening broader community vitality by addressing needs related to affordable housing, small business, and neighborhood revitalization. We are working to advance racial equality and economic opportunity throughout many of our partnerships.
How has your company adapted its social responsibility efforts to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic?
Coronavirus has had a significant impact on all populations and a disproportionate impact on vulnerable populations who have experienced increased unemployment and higher levels of infection. In response, we’re partnering with organizations addressing the economic and social conditions that affect an individual’s health, access to community-based health services, crisis-prevention tied to family stabilization programs, and other poverty related issues. Earlier this year, we announced that in partnership with local nonprofits across the country, we’ve distributed more than 25 million masks as part of our ongoing efforts to address health-related disparities accelerated by the coronavirus. In addition to masks, we have also distributed more than 160,000 bottles of hand sanitizer and four million gloves in local communities, with a particular focus on communities of color. The work is connected to our $1.2 billion, five-year commitment to advance racial equality and economic opportunity.
How does your support of ASM fit into your company’s mission?
ASM is a longtime community partner which we have been supporting for over 20 years. Like ASM, we are committed to supporting youth and young adults to explore their passions and evolve their talents through after school and internship programs. For example, Bank of America remains steadfast in our commitment to summer youth employment by helping young adults, like those we meet through ASM, to gain early work experience that will put them on a path to success. As a champion of ASM’s advanced summer internship program, together we connect teens to small businesses and non-profits in Chicago each summer.
What is your company most proud of in terms of its impact in partnership with ASM programming?
The Bank of America and ASM partnership runs very deep and extends beyond program support to include employee volunteer engagement by providing financial education and giving support during ASM’s signature fall gala event. ASM formed TEAM After School Matters and is an official charity partner of both the Bank of America Shamrock Shuffle and the Bank of America Chicago Marathon. This opportunity raises critical funds and awareness for ASM to continue to provide after-school and summer programs to thousands of Chicago teens. This year in addition to continued support for the Summer Internship Program, Bank of America also supported ASM’s food distribution efforts. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, ASM has been distributing food to teens and instructors experiencing food insecurity and hunger. With Bank of America’s support, ASM was able to provide an additional 6,000 meals to those in need.
What is your company most proud of in terms of its impact on the Chicago community at large? What impact does your company hope to make on Chicago communities?
Bank of America has been committed to serving Chicago for over 160 years, through times of prosperity and times of challenge. We remain committed to helping our teammates, our clients, and our community as we move through ups and downs, and eventually past, this ongoing health and humanitarian crisis. While some individuals and businesses have recovered since the deepest economic impacts of the pandemic, we recognize many have not. We continue to invest in local non-profits working across Chicagoland to help those in need move forward and get back on their feet, and continue to help clients (individuals and small businesses) as they regain financial stability. Bank of America is committed to helping Chicago communities hit hardest by the pandemic, and to advancing racial equality and economic mobility. Our community members, workers and businesses are critical to our local economy and our community, providing essential services, jobs and culture to our neighborhoods. We are accelerating our ongoing work advancing racial equality and economic mobility with a five-year $1.25 Billion commitment focused on Health, Housing, Jobs and Small Business. We have invested over $10.6 million in Chicago non-profit organizations since the start of the pandemic. Thank you ASM for our joint commitment to helping youth reach a brighter future. We hope our association continues for many years to come